FACES OF CAPE COD – Casey Sherman: Author, Storyteller, Cape Cod Native

One could say that author Casey Sherman has Cape Cod sand in his blood. A Hyannis native, his Cape roots go back seven generations. Sherman’s mother grew up on Sea Street, and his father just a mile or so away on South Street. He was even born at Cape Cod Hospital and spent most of his life in Hyannis.

“I have fond memories of my childhood, living at Cromwell Court on Barnstable Road. It was here that I met many of the friends that I am still close with today,” he said. “My parents later moved to Sea Street during my years at Barnstable Middle School and High School. Although I am no longer living on the Cape, Hyannis will always be my true home.”

Sherman is a New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including The Finest Hours (now a major motion picture starring Casey Affleck and Chris Pine) and Boston Strong (the basis for the film, “Patriots Day,” starring Mark Wahlberg). He is also the author of Search for the Strangler, Animal, Bad Blood, Black Irish, Black Dragon, Above & Beyond and The Ice Bucket Challenge. Sherman is a contributing writer for Esquire and FoxNews.com and has appeared as a guest an analyst on more than 100 television news programs. His newest book, 12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption, was released this past summer.

Some crucial elements need to be present to inspire him, when it comes to writing. The story has to interest him but, more importantly, it has to move him.

“I’m drawn to both history and current events, but each story needs to have heart,” he said. “That’s where the inspiration begins – whether it’s four young Coast Guardsmen performing a virtual suicide mission in my maritime classic The Finest Hours, bystanders running into the smoke and fire to save lives in Boston Strong, a young man stricken with ALS who turns a death sentence into a mission to change the world in The Ice Bucket Challenge, or a superstar NFL quarterback facing his greatest challenge off the field in my current New York Times best-seller (with longtime writing partner Dave Wedge) 12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption, I take my readers on a journey – putting them in the shoes of unlikely heroes as they try to overcome almost insurmountable odds.”

Sherman’s writing skills didn’t just happen overnight. He worked hard in the news industry before fame found him, learning to work fast and get the right information the first time, as well as adhering to deadlines. He’s also a voracious reader, which really matters if you want to be a good writer. He considers himself an “accidental author,” as he’d never thought he’d be writing books one day. But fate would intercede, and Sherman was thrust into the spotlight because of his work in the Boston Strangler case.

“(It was) a case that I re-investigated as a personal crusade since my aunt, Mary Sullivan (a 1962 graduate of Barnstable High School), was the youngest and final victim of that notorious murder spree. My work on the case led me to study journalism at Boston University and eventually a career in news,” he said.

“I was a journalist for nearly two decades for CBS News. That experience has taught me to work quickly – absorbing and understanding information and then crafting a unique story that will hopefully stay with the reader long after they’ve finished my book,” said Sherman. “I also learn by reading – I read everything from non-fiction and fiction, to children’s literature and poetry.

“That’s the real master class for writers,” he added, “to see how a writer builds a narrative, sets pace, describes characters and their surroundings. When I was younger, I would borrow techniques from authors with divergent styles, like Hemingway and Norman Mailer, and blend them with my own writing and words until I found a literary voice uniquely my own for better or worse.”

Sherman thinks of himself as an archaeologist of words. He digs deeply into the discovery and research process, he said, mining for new information and a new understanding of the subject he’s writing about.

“I don’t chase after similar stories each time out, as others may do. To me, that’s boring. Instead, I want to challenge myself both as a writer and journalist to learn about and shed light on a subject I know very little about.”

Although he now resides on the South Shore, Sherman cherishes his ties to the Cape and visits whenever possible, whether to visit friends, mentor students, or to give back in other ways.

“I loved growing up on Cape Cod and in Hyannis where friendship and loyalty are given high value. I have tremendous support from all those that I’ve known since my formative years and I support them in their endeavors also,” he said. “I also try to give back at every opportunity by visiting with and mentoring students at BHS and Hyannis West Elementary, where I went to school. I want all students to know that they can aspire to and reach any goals they set for themselves. Recently, I donated two signed manuscripts to the Hyannis Public Library where I hope the work will inspire young writers and older storytellers to share their own stories with others.”

He feels that one of the great things about living in New England is that you don’t have to throw a rock far to find a great story. Sherman said his work also provides a window into how we live for audiences around the world.

“The region is rich in history and there are still great stories to be told. My next book takes place in Tanzania, a far cry from Truro so I’m looking forward to digging into the soil there and unearthing a tale that my readers will enjoy.”

Sherman said he loves the Cape not only because he’s from here, but because each village and town is so vastly different from the other, “Meaning that you can have unique experiences everywhere you go,” he said. “I like browsing for books at The Yellow Umbrella Bookstore in Chatham, or visiting the Museum on the Green in Falmouth, enjoying a glass of wine at Ricciardelli’s Bistro in Hyannis and working with the folks at the Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth. The Cape has a bounty of riches.”

About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.

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